What’s the second most used search engine after Google? Bing? Yahoo? No. It’s YouTube. With over a billion subscribers watching hundreds of millions of hours of video every day, YouTube is massive and as a business, you really should consider it as a marketing channel. The statistics speak for themselves: the average internet user watches over 30 videos every month and 50% of users watch business related videos. Of these, 65% will visit the company’s website sometime after seeing a video. That’s an enormous click through rate.
When it comes to video advertising, users who watch video ads are 64% more likely to purchase a product online after seeing a video about it.
Video works on both intellectual and emotional levels, we are hooked by its storytelling, the use of voice, facial expressions and movement. Rather than simply telling viewers about your products and services you can show them.
So, here’s how to set up and make use of YouTube for your online business
Planning your YouTube channel
The first thing you need is a plan of action. Just like a Facebook page or a Twitter account, your channel needs to have a purpose. You could just use it to upload your latest adverts. Alternatively, you may want to use it as an extension of your social media and show videos about the human side of your business. Many highly successful channels on YouTube tend to be educational, showing people how to do something. Garages, for example, upload videos about basic car maintenance with the aim of selling parts online. As an added benefit, this can also generate local business as people bring their cars in for repair.
It is important, therefore, that you consider the possibilities and decide upon what videos you are going to make and what you want them to achieve to benefit your business the most.
Sign up for a Google account
As YouTube is now owned by Google, the first thing you need to do when setting up a YouTube channel is open a free Google account. This can be done directly from the Google homepage and clicking on the ‘Sign in’ link. You’ll be asked to create an account and all you need to do is fill in the relevant details and you’re ready to go.
Choose the right channel name
When you create your YouTube channel you will be able to give it a name. The name you choose can have a very big impact on its success, so it’s important to give it careful consideration. You may simply want to use your business name, however, for improved SEO or for specific audiences it may be more advantageous to use something different. So, for example, if you own a company called Brad’s Bikes and are making videos on bike maintenance, a good channel name would be Brad’s Bike Maintenance – this way you include the business name and the keywords that you want to rank for.
Upload an eye-catching channel header image
Besides uploading your company logo, YouTube will also let you upload a much bigger header image that goes at the top of your channel’s homepage. Make sure this image encapsulates the essence of what your channel is about and that it appeals to your target audience. You can include text in your image too which can help get your message across quickly – however, make sure this is big enough to read when the header is shrunk to fit on a mobile screen.
Add a well-crafted channel description
You can also add a text description that viewers can use to read about your channel. In reality, not many people will read it on YouTube, most are just interested in your videos. However, what you write in the first 100 characters is vital as it will be displayed on YouTube and search engine results and for this reason needs carefully crafting to contain the most important keywords that your channel wants to rank for as well as appealing to searchers to make them click through.
Note: this process is also important for each individual video you upload. However, with videos, you also get to choose specific keywords you want to rank for.
Get people to your website
One of the primary functions of your YouTube channel will be to drive traffic from the videos to your website. To achieve this, you need to set up a link from your channel to your site so that potential customers can get from A to B quickly and without fuss.
In order to link to your website, you will first need to verify your YouTube account. This is done via the ‘Verify’ button in your channel settings where you will need to input a code that Google sends to you via text message.
Your first video, the channel trailer
One of the most important videos you produce is your channel trailer. It works in a similar way to trailers used by film companies in that it is essentially an interesting summary of the best bits of your business and channel.
Channel trailers can help in a number of ways; if your audience like it, they are much more likely to watch your other videos. It also means they are more likely to subscribe to your channel so that they get informed every time you upload a new video.
As this is a trailer, the best thing you can do is keep the video short – no more than one minute. This is especially important as the video will play automatically when an unsubscribed visitor lands on your channel page.
Add sections for easier navigation
As you begin to develop your channel and upload more videos, you may find that some can be grouped into different sections. You can improve the chances of getting these seen by creating sections for your channel – in a similar way to how you would arrange posts into categories on a blog.
Brad’s Bikes Maintenance channel, for example, might have a section on road bike maintenance and another on mountain bike maintenance.
Besides sections, you can also include playlists on your channel featuring your own videos or other videos you’ve found which you think your audience might enjoy. If you promote a charity as part of your business outreach programme, you could include some of its videos in your playlists.
Build your subscriber list
You need to think of your YouTube subscriber list as you would an email marketing list. The more subscribers you have, the easier it is to market your products and services to them. One of your aims as a channel owner, therefore, should be to get as many people to subscribe as possible. The main ways many YouTubers do this is to ask viewers to subscribe at the end of the video. ‘And don’t forget to subscribe to our channel.’ This is often backed up by laying a subscribe button over your video, which you can do via YouTube itself.
Once your channel is set up, the next stage is to begin adding new videos. You don’t need to spend a fortune paying a professional video maker to do this for you. Many of YouTube’s viral video makers have made their reputations and fortunes with nothing more than their mobile phone, a cheap tripod and a basic online video editor. If video editing is not your forte, you can use online explainer video animation software that can help you create great videos very cheaply.
The key is to make things snappy, humorous and fun to watch and listen to. With YouTube, there are no golden rules and many viewers like it when you try something new or unusual. So, you can be as creative as you like, as long as you remember that you are working in a visual and audio-based medium.
One thing viewers do like, however, is regular updates. So, once you start getting subscribers, try to post new videos at regular intervals.
Take a look at how successful video marketing works by watching our Brad’s Bikes story below:
Once you have made your videos, you can then share them yourself. You can post them on your social media accounts, send them in your email marketing and embed them on your business website. From here, they can be liked and shared by others.
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